At the start of the year, I asked what you, the readers, wanted to see on this blog.
LT at Dreams of Quill and Ink, asked me to share a little of my WIP.
I do hope you enjoy. Here is a sneak peek at my upcoming novel, Immortalis - Carpe Noctem.
1/2 of Chapter 1.
I hated waiting!
I shot impatient glances at my phone, checking the time displayed in green LED.
It was late, and I was restless.
Sounds of clapping in the background signaled another poetry reading had finished.
It was a busy night at Café Copioh, but then, just about every night here was busy.
Copioh drew in a unique crowd from the nearby college. It wasn’t one of those fancy, fru-fru coffee houses. It had bohemian feel; colorful, vibrant, and eclectic. Each wall had been painted in different colors; teal, maroon, sand, and sage. Reprints of various, famous artwork lined the walls including a large mural of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, in black-light reflective paint. A plethora of flea market-style furnishings had been strewn about haphazardly in the large space, completing the relaxed, homey feel.
Mike, the manager, a stereotypical beatnik-esque guy, complete with goatee and long pony-tail, set down a Styrofoam cup, filled with a dark, chocolaty drink. “You adding this to your tab, Alyssa?”
I smiled. “Yeah, I’ll pay up on Friday. Thanks.”
I was a regular here. Mike knew this and usually let me slide until payday. I could be found here almost every night. And so could my, currently absent friend, Fallon.
I shot another impatient glance at my phone.
“Ten p.m. C’mon Fallon, I don’t want to wait all night,” I sighed.
A loud, shrill voice spoke over the café’s speaker system. I cringed, hearing the start of another dreary poem. Someone was almost always on the makeshift stage. Reading poetry was the custom here. I sat back into the cushions of my favorite brown, threadbare love seat in the front window--far away from the stage—and tried unsuccessfully, to ignore the babbling. I never did care for poetry. Most of it was nothing more than nonsensical emotional ramblings. Too much use of words like: dark, black, emptiness and despair.
A hum of mumbling voices tempted me to listen. Eavesdropping here was like having a front row seat to a taping of my own personal soap opera. Tidbits of gossip about people I knew piqued my interest, momentarily stealing my focus.
The sudden jingle of my cell phone startled me. I jumped to answer it almost knocking over my mocha. I didn’t need the caller ID to tell me who it was. Fallon was well over an hour late.
“Please tell me you are close. You would not believe the day I had. I need to vent,” I blurted out, forgetting the pleasantries of a proper greeting.
“Sorry, Alyssa, I’m not going to make it out tonight.”
Great, what else can go wrong today?
“What, No! Oh C’mon, Fallon. Don’t leave me hanging. I need a friend today. I got fire-“
“Lyss, I don’t feel like going out tonight. I’m tired and it’s already late. Let’s just meet up tomorrow, Okay?”
I huffed, not wanting to answer.
“Alyssa, I promise, tomorrow,” Fallon said in her most sympathetic voice.
“Yeah, sure. Whatever.” I didn’t bother hiding my disappointment.
“Sorry, Lyss, I’ll make it up to you. I promise. We’ll go out tomorrow. You can tell me all about work then, okay.”
“Fine,” I grumbled. “Next time, don’t leave me hanging here by myself for an hour before you decide to cancel on me.”
I breathed a disappointed sigh and pressed the end button on the phone.
“Well, isn’t this the perfect end to the perfect day? Might as well pack up and go home.”
I gulped down the last bit of my mocha, waved to Mike, and walked out the front door.
The hot summer breeze greeted me; a mixture of coffee, car exhaust, and the lingering tang of grease from a nearby taco shop.
I set off across the street to the University. My apartment was on the other side of campus. Just a quick ten minute walk and I would be home.
Being a petite woman, I never did like walking home alone, especially at night, and tried to avoid it whenever possible. I’d heard too many horror stories about college girls-like myself-being raped or worse. This time though, I had no choice. There was no friend to take me home, so I had to hoof it. Reaching a thin hand into my bag, I pulled out a keychain of pepper spray. Old Reliable. Knives could be turned against you and do some serious damage. I knew pepper spray was a good enough deterrent without having the potential to be deadly. If someone managed to get it away and use it against me, worst I would expect is stinging eyes and that was better than a stab wound.
UNLV was quiet at this time of night. All the regular classes had ended hours ago and the walkways were all empty. My finger covered the trigger of the keychain as I took the pathway leading towards the theater and music halls.
Just walk fast and don’t talk to anybody. I took a deep breath, steeling my courage while attempting to calm my nerves. I hated walking home alone.
Sounds of distant chatter caught my attention. Echoes of raised voices reverberated off of brick buildings, sounding like a couple of men arguing in somewhere ahead of me. Tightening my grip on the keychain, I quickened my pace.
Almost home, just keep going.
Small lamps dotted the walkway, and flood lights hung from the corners of some of the buildings. Normally, there was plenty of light on the walkway but something felt different. Things seemed darker. A light on one of the buildings flickered. I noticed another building’s lights had completely burned out leaving a portion of my path in darkness.
I gritted my teeth and fought against the weak voice of my intuition telling me to go back to the café.
The arguing voices faded. An eerie quiet sent a shiver dancing down my spine. I stopped and looked around, checking for any movement in the shadows. Intuition, no longer a weak voice in my head, screamed at me to run. Something wasn’t right here.
Probably just some frat boys. Calm down Alyssa, No reason to get scared. My heartbeat sped, pounding against the wall of my chest.
“Excuse me, Miss,” a voice called out from behind me.
I stifled a gasp. My heart skipped a beat.
“Excuse me, Miss. Hello. Can you help me?”
Against my better judgment, I turned towards the voice.
“Sorry to bother you, miss. I’m new here and kind of lost. Could you tell me where the library is? I’m supposed to be meeting a friend there.”
The voice sounds friendly enough. Okay, just give a quick answer and leave.
I squinted, trying to get a better look at him as he walked towards me. He passed out of the shadowed path into the light. A wide-mouth smile covered his face. He didn’t seem intimidating. He looked like an average skinny college guy; short spiky hair, glasses, and generic sarcastic sayings t-shirt. For a second, I thought I recognized him from somewhere.
I took my finger off of the pepper-spray trigger. “Sorry, I’m a little jumpy tonight. It’s no problem. Just go down that…” I pointed in the direction of the library.
Something tapped me hard on the shoulder.
I turned around, seeing a blur of knuckles just before a fist slammed into my face.